Do Southern Irish consider the Northern Irish to be more conservative and religious?

Most assuredly.

For a long list of different reasons, the Republic has grown more secular and liberal in the last 50 years. The spectacle of banners and fife-and-drum bands marching in a quasi-religious cause is a distant memory - black-and-white footage - in the Republic. In the North, it is an annual season. Thank goodness, it is less violent that it used to be. But the TV footage of marches and massive bonfires, and the annual exodus of Northern Ireland tourists escaping the unrest reminds us why we are glad to be well shut of that kind of thing.

On driving into Northern Ireland, there is more to signal the change than miles instead of kilometers and a sharp decline in the quality of the roads. By the flags and the kerb murals and the presence or absence of Orange Halls and RC Churches, it is painfully obvious which side each little town is on.

On a popular culture level, let's just say that it's difficult to imagine an Ulster Protestant variant of "Father Ted" ever emitting from an Ulster pen. There is plenty irony in Ulster wit, but a lot of iron too.

At a legislative level, the DUP - so insistent that Northern Ireland is as British as Finchley - has roadblocked a raft of liberal legislation that is common across the rest of Britain on grounds of religious reservation - most prominently marriage equality.

Given that Ireland was the first country to vote in marriage equality by popular vote, the contrast couldn't be more glaring.


Probably the direct opposite.


Yes. But it's a minority on both sides who are ultra-religious, whether that's Roman Catholic or Presbyterian. The scandals in the RC church have made a huge difference to attitudes here in the Republic, and RC conservatism has decreased amazingly with a massive reduction in church-going. (Hallelujah! sez me.)

I think the young people in NI are much less likely to be so. But unfortunately the parties of the middle ground feel unable to be socially liberal, because of this vociferous minority. I think, maybe at the ballot box, most people would vote what they really think, rather than what they say in public. (I'm thinking of the abortion issue, here.)


Do Southern Irish consider the Northern Irish to be more conservative and religious?

Certainly not Northern Irish folks in general, but a substantial chunk of them, yes. There appears to be a pretty hardcore element of religious fundamentalism involved in running Northern Ireland. E.g. equal marriage was brought in in the Republic of Ireland a few years ago with a comprehensively-passed referendum, and same-sex marriage has been a thing in the UK for a few years before that - with the exception of Northern Ireland.


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